By Chris Lang
Last week REDD-Monitor wrote about John Greene. He’d been scammed into buying carbon credits as an investment by a company called 360 Invest Group. That company disappeared in 2012, but John is still being contacted by scammers.
Last week’s post looked at two companies calling themselves Global Capital Holdings and Herald Investment Trust. They share the same phone number. Both offered to sell John’s carbon credits – for an advanced fee, of course. Both companies are scams.
This week, REDD-Monitor was contacted by another unfortunate victim of 360 Invest Group. Let’s call her Helen Jones. She was contacted out of the blue by a company calling itself Payment Solutions Ltd:
Dear Mrs. Jones,
We are writing to inform you of funds being held on your behalf within one of our secure escrow accounts. The majority of our escrow accounts are held with HSBC, however if this is not the case for your particular account you will be notified.
Please speak with one of our advisors who will be happy to explain the current status of your account and provide you with information in regards to the release of said funds.
Please allow up to 3-5 working days for any released payments to be processed into any UK regulated bank account via bank transfer. Cheques may take longer due to courier availability. All bank transfers will only be processed to accounts where the escrow owner is the sole beneficiary.
Payment Solutions is an award-winning escrow provider offering a wide variety of innovative and forward thinking financial instruments to individual clients and institutions via financial advisers and intermediaries. Payment Solutions offer the flexibility of both onshore and offshore accounts for both UK and international clients.
We manage and hold funds for private clients, insurance companies, pension schemes, trust companies, charities and other financial institutions, utilising the next generation of interactive account management systems to give clients 24/7 access to their investments with tailored instant reports.
The letter came with an Invoice, with a request to “contact your advisor for payment details”. Then came some fictitious nonsense about the company and a series of distinctly dystopian images lifted from a Portuguese company:
The red flags
Payment Solutions contacted Helen out of the blue. The only way that Payment Solutions could have known that Helen had bought carbon credits from 360 Invest Group is because her name is on what the scammers call a “sucker list”. Scammers collect information about people who have been scammed and sell this information to other scammers.
On 25 October 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority listed Payment Solutions as the clone of a company with the same name. The real Payment Solutions is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Financial Conduct Authority includes this warning on its website:
The website listed on the FCA website for Payment Solutions (www.ukpaymentsolution.com) has disappeared. It was registered (anonymously) on 29 September 2019. The letter that Helen received gives another address (www.payment-solutions.co.uk) which has also disappeared. This website was registered (anonymously) on 31 October 2019. The name server listed on the Whois Record is interesting: ns1.suspended-for.spam-and-abuse.com.
The “trading address” given by Payment Solutions (25 Sackville Street, Mayfair, London, W15 3AX) is offered by Regus as a virtual office for only £2.80 per day. The company doesn’t even bother giving a phone number.
On 11 September 2019, two other people reported that they had been contacted out of the blue by Payment Solutions. One of them commented, “definitely a scam”. Which is true.
If you are contacted by Payment Solutions (or any other company that claims to be able to sell the carbon credits that you were scammed into buying as an investment) please report them to Action Fraud, and the Financial Conduct Authority. Do not send them any money under any circumstances.